Headshots & blog by Vanie Poyey
I introduced a friend of mine to a manager that I work with because I thought each party might benefit from working with one another. I wished her good luck and didn’t think much more about it. A few days later I was cc-d on an email from the manager to my friend. He thanked me for the connection and as I scrolled down and read her email to him, I understood why.
Every inch of that letter of introduction oozed her personality (which by the way is intoxicating to begin with) but not only that, her letter was cleverly written as a character breakdown. Yes a breakdown as in Breakdown Services. Not only was I amused and entertained but I thought to myself, “If I were a manager, I’d meet with this gal!” That’s half the battle isn’t it? Getting the right people to notice you?
Think outside the box. Don’t get lost in the shuffle.
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Headshots by Vanie Poyey
If you don’t have an agent, a coach or a casting director giving you advise, the best way to figure out your target market is to watch prime time TV as well as popular shows on cable. But wait, don’t skip the commercials! Look for people who look like you, what they are wearing and the roles they are playing in TV shows as well as commercials. Once you figure out your target market, you’ll realize that you will play the same character commercially as well as theatrically. For example once you categorize the roles, you’ll come up with specific language like Girl Next Door or Business Professional etc. You can even get more specific such as the Best Friend who goes shopping with her girlfriends (commercially) or One of the Girls on a girl’s night out (theatrically). Another example would be the FBI agent (theatrically) vs. Enterprise worker (commercially) both under the category of Business Professional. The Young Dad having a beer while watching football (commercially) vs. the Young Dad having a BBQ with friends and neighbors on a TV drama. When you break down the roles you fit into whether it be the Blue Collar Worker or the Silverlake Hipster you’ll realize the roles cross over to both commercial and theatrical worlds. What changes is the context.
Doing this research not only insures a better and more useful outcome from your next Headshot Session but also gives your agent or agent to be the marketing tools to get you in the door!
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Headshot Photography & blog by Vanie Poyey
The first question you’ll need to answer is what your age range is. From there you can assess what the most commonly requested looks are for that age group. Most actors are under the impression that the larger their age range, the better it is for their acting, but in fact, the opposite is true. A reasonable age range is five to seven years because the more specific you are with your marketing looks, the greater the chances are of getting in the door. During my many consultations, it’s typical for the novice actor to throw out an age range say from 20 to 35, and although for theater a 15 year age range is very realistic, for TV and film it’s not. The wider the age range, the less focused are your submissions and more is left to chance in terms of what look catches. On stage, makeup can do wonders but on TV a 20 year old can not pull off 35 no matter how much range he/she thinks he/she has. It’s best to do your homework and be very methodical in figuring out your stereotype and then capitalize on it! For example, if you’re 18, perhaps you play 16 to 21. If you’re 24, perhaps you play 20 to 27 or if you’re 45, perhaps you play 42 to 48 and so on.
So then how do you figure out what the most commonly requested looks are for your age group? Aside from taking workshops like Sam Christensen’s Personal Brand class, and making a list of breakdowns from sites like Casting Networks, there is more you can do to figure out your specific target market. Find out how in Part III of this series. In the meantime, as you scroll through the images below, note the specific labels describing some typical marketing looks for each image. Read Part III.
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